Nervous but excited: Our first day

We got this!

Yesterday was our first official day at South East University / Monash in Suzhou. I left our hotel full of self-doubt and angst. I have never felt so nervous, even though teaching is what I have done for the last 33 years. The welcoming party was wonderful. We met the staff at the university who put on a lovely morning tea but our conversations soon came to an end as it was time for our first sessions.

Gulp – we’ve got this!

Here is Suzhou, we are privileged to be in spacious, well-equipped rooms, the natural light from the giant windows streaming in, everything up and operating AND the students arrive.

Oh what joy!

I’ve discovered that Let’s Chat comes naturally to us and once we start – well, there’s no stopping us. We have a great program and now we get to share it with our partners in Suzhou, China.

I’m with a great team of colleagues who are dedicated and determined to make this work. Our first day was a testament to that!

Greetings from Suzhou, China

It’s been a while since I posted but I feel it’s time to share some learnings again. It’s not that I haven’t been learning in all this time – believe me I have.

The beauty of Suzhou

I’ve been busy planning and writing in consultation with a great bunch of people from English Connect at Monash University. I’m currently writing from my spacious hotel room in Suzhou, China, where my colleagues and I will be for the next 2 weeks, facilitating English Conversational sessions with the students from Southeast University. I’ll be keeping you posted on a regular basis. This is an important alliance and one that I hope will be most successful and more importantly, make me a better learner.

We spent our first day in Suzhou getting our bearings and seeing some of the sights. It’s a delightful and eloquent city. I saw beauty in everything. I have many emotions. I almost feel helpless not knowing the language and with very little English signs and explanations I am lost – but I will be fine.

Over the next 2 weeks I know I will see, hear, feel, think and learn many new things. I can’t wait.

12 000 words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here are my 12 000 written over 2 days.

It always begins with food

Beach cross

Sunday morning rays of hope

Easter morning breakfast

Stones

Seeker

Eagle’s Nest

Inverloch

2 girls & a rock

My dad

Me & a rock

The end

Thanks for reading 🙂

How many words does a selfie say?

Here we go, prompt number 4 in the #edublogsclub challenge. I’m chuffed to be able to keep up so far!

This week’s prompt asks us to write a post that includes an image.

Arena di Verona, July 2016

As soon as I read it this above image came to mind. I’m going to keep this simple so you won’t be reading anything about photo etiquette or copyright law. If I use someone else’s photo I always state my source if I can find it, or at least credit where I got it.

This above photo was taken as part of our ‘selfie’ collection from our European trip in 2016 with the edition of a prisma transformation. Taking a selfie every now and again makes us laugh so hard and keeps our two daughters back home entertained. You can see we aren’t very good at it – well at least I’m not. I just don’t get it but it makes for quite interesting and always hilarious attempts. I keep most of them and this happens to be one of my very favourites.

It captures everything about the moment my husband and I were standing outside the Arena in Verona, Italy. We had just purchased tickets to see Aida that night in the Arena. It was a beautiful hot day, reflected with my fiery red hair and in the yellow flame-like images under the arches. The purchase made us very happy and was a welcome distraction from having arrived from Rome the night before without our luggage! (A good thing I had a lipstick in my handbag – that was about it, given we were only flying from Rome. Who thought to pack some knickers just in case! I always do for other inter-Europe flights).

It doesn’t matter now because the luggage did arrive an hour or so before the opera so we got to dress up and off we went! It turned out to be one of the highlights of the 4-week adventure.

This photo for me says it all, and together with my travel diaries always makes for wonderful memories. From an art teacher’s perspective, it is also quite interesting in design elements and principles, colour, shape, texture and composition, all because I’m not so great at taking selfies. Funny.

Aida -travel diary

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

My learning spaces – everything, in every place

Prompt 2 of my newest challenge, a blog a week for the #edublogsclubs is all about our work environments. Since I am not in any one school and juggle quite a number of ‘different’ work, my learning spaces vary dramatically depending on the tasks at hand.

In any one week, I can go from a secondary school classroom, a boardroom, a meeting room, a conference centre, my dining room table, my home office space, a favourite coffee shop, university grounds, and even in my spa! I love the freedom of moving around for different learning activities. You see, as I mentioned in my first challenge post, there is learning in everything and I’ll add now – in every place.

Coffee shop treat while reading on critical pedagogy

In my final year of high school, many, many years ago, each of my subjects was allotted to a different study area in the house (much to my mum’s disgust!). It was almost like a switch on, switch off ritual while I was studying and as each exam was completed so the books and study guides disappeared from each place (to my mum’s relief!).

As an Education Consultant, my learning spaces vary from staffrooms to auditoriums, from conference centres to classrooms and school libraries. My audience numbers vary dramatically for 4-5 and up to 300 at national conferences so my learning space has to work accordingly. I like to do a lot of hands-on and movement activities with my participants, but I also need them to sit quietly and reflect, or to work more collaboratively on certain tasks.

Developing coaching relationships

The learning spaces for workshops with teachers may vary but there is nothing like a nice round table where teachers and learning support staff can collaborate to make learning for students with special needs and indeed all students, more accessible.

Collaborating

When teaching and learning with students the spaces outside of the classrooms are just as enticing and so again the learning spaces change. Last year I really loved how my tutorial room had whiteboard walls!! Visual Art spaces are also enticing and prompt creativity even in everyday manual tools which are an artform in themselves.

Paintbrushes

As a part-time PhD student, I do much of my study and writing at home – and this is where I still tend to move around depending on what I’m attempting to do on the day. We have a very large dining room table and even swapping chairs along and around it help me to focus within the space. It is also a good excuse when my desk cannot be seen for the papers, books and stationery it sometimes holds.

My desk area

Dining room table

And of course, there’s also that learning space inside our heads – thinking! As an A grade procrastinator, I actually do much of my thinking while cleaning, cooking, driving and, yes, even while enjoying the spa -though this presents a problem when trying to write things down in my notebooks!

Ahhhhh…spa!

Finally, I’d like to also add that for me learning spaces are not only the physical places one inhabits but they can also be found within the pages of a lovely notebook or scrappy bits of paper, on a computer screen or in a painting.

Travel diary

There is learning in everything; in every place.

Thanks for reading 🙂